Kokomo improved to 5-5 on the season as the Jackrabbits plated six runs over the middle innings to back a strong pitching effort in a 7-3 win over Kenosha at Municipal Stadium Thursday night.
It was the fourth win in five games for Kokomo, which salvaged a two-game split with the Kingfish in a game between Northwoods League Great Lakes East Division rivals.
The Jackrabbits plated three runs each in the fifth and sixth innings to put the game out of reach, taking a 4-2 lead in the fifth and responding to Kenosha's run in the top of the sixth with three more in the bottom half of the frame to go up 7-2. The Kingfish added a run in the top of the eighth to account for the final score.
"I was most impressed with the fact that we answered after they answered," 'Rabbits first-year skipper Hayden Carter said. "We went three spot, they put up one to kind of narrow the lead and we said here’s another three spot and that’s ball game. I was more impressed with that."
That offensive flurry was more than enough to back a solid pitching night from starter Trevor Nicholson and reliever Blaine Traxel. Nicholson drew the starting nod and pitched six solid innings, allowing a pair of earned runs on six hits. Traxel fanned five over the course of a three-inning save, allowing an earned run on four hits.
"Blaine right now, knock on wood, he’s got a rubber arm," Carter said. "He wants to pitch every day. He comes in every day and says, 'Hey, I’m good.' He’s wanting to pitch. If he’s going to keep giving us solid innings and keep getting guys out, we’ll keep throwing him out there.
"It seems like we literally used almost everyone last night [a 7-2 loss to Kenosha]. It was really nice to give some guys a much needed day off and kind of sets us up nicely for our upcoming road trip.
Kokomo opens a two-game road swing at Battle Creek on Friday, playing two more on the road at Rockford on Sunday and Monday before returning home to open a four-game set with Traverse City over three days beginning Tuesday.
The 'Rabbits collected nine hits on Thursday night, finding success up and down the lineup with six different players finishing with hits.
Dylan Dohanos reached base in four of his five plate appearances, drawing two walks and cracking a pair of hits. Jeff Timko added two base hits, and Jack Kraus also finished with two hits. Kraus had Kokomo's only extra-base hit of the night, a two-out, two-run double that put the 'Rabbits up 4-1 in the bottom of the fifth.
"He’s starting to see the ball a lot better as of late," Carter said of Kraus, who also had a single that led to Kokomo's first run when he scored in the bottom of the second to even the score 1-all. "He’s starting to feel more confident in his swing and approach. That’s great to see that his hard work is paying off."
Timko, Logan Jarvis and Ethan Gallagher each added RBIs for Kokomo.
Kenosha (4-6) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first as Nicholson issued a one-out walk and back-to-back singles before settling into a strong groove.
Kokomo tied the game in the second and took the lead for good in the fifth. In the sixth, the 'Rabbits first four hitters reached base on the way to adding their final three runs for a 7-2 lead.